Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What would I do if I became a really really really famous author

On youtube Kaleb Nation and Jackson Pearce have answered the question listed above. The top five things.... hmmm. Well, there are definitely a few more, but these are the first that come to mind:

1) Pay off all our debts, buy the house of my dreams, the cars we want, and put money away for the future. Ok, whew, got the reasonable one out of the way first.

2) For this house of my dreams - hire staff: landscaper, maid, and a cook. I'm just not good at it and I want to eat well and look good for all my public appearances. Better hire a massueur and a personal trainer as well.

3) Have a TOTALLY awesome writing space with lots of desk top room, a great computer and printer, all my favorite pens and regular shopping at Staples for more supplies (yes, I completely adore Staples - could shop in there forever). There would be lots of light, a small library of books (reference and favorite fiction). I would be excited to be there every day. Except when I'm traveling

4) Travel and shop to my hearts content - first class all the way. To NYC, to London, Paris, a month in Italy. I'm a self trained retail therapist and I adore the whole process of shopping... and buying! Vacations to Disney, California. Cruises. Yeah, let's face it -- I want it all.

5) Create places for writers to write! First, I'd buy a bed and breakfast on the Jersey Shore and turn it into a low cost writers' retreat where writers could come to relax and commune with their muse and be inspired by one another. I'd get to be there whenever I could, meeting and encouraging folks.

I'd also buy a brownstone like place, have a bookstore cafe on the first floor, a daycare place in the basement, and rooms upstairs that can be reserved for writing. Hey - if your gym can provide child care while you work out, I should be able to find a way to do this for writers. We all deserve a place to become the writers we want to be.

I have to add one more
6) Invest in projects I believe in. I have friends who are working hard to achieve their artistic dreams and I would love to be able to give them funding, no strings attached so they could go full force towards what they want.

So... what would you do? Oh, and if your curious Jackson's video response, which I really like, is here:

Have a great week,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary


A year ago my first book, ROLL PLAY, was released by Ellora's Cave. It was the first full book I had ever submitted for publication and the release day was one I will remember forever. We popped champagne at midnight, I received calls and flowers all day, and my mom surprised me for a visit that night by taking the train to Massachusetts from New Jersey and having my husband pick her up at the station. It was a magical day.

Today I am still kind of floating from that first release and looking forward to future releases. My next story, RETURN TO XANDER, comes out September 22nd in EC's JEWELS OF THE NILE, CAVEMEN III anthology, which makes it my first print book. I have a dark fiction story coming out in an another anthology later this year and I am submitting three more stories in the next few weeks.

Yes, I've had some tough days and a refusal on a book I loved, but I choose this roller coaster ride called the writing life - and I'll never change my mind.

I wish you your dreams coming true in the months to come. Thanks for celebrating with me.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Part 1

I know I’m not the only writer who spends a great deal of time thinking about the names of my characters. Names tell you a lot about the person you are about. There are two aspects to names. First are the names we choose and second is the characters we choose to name. I want to talk about this second set this week.

Last week while working on my current manuscript, I had two characters. Originally, one was referred to simply as “the stable boy” When I was doing some rewriting I decided to name the stable boy Finn. And suddenly… he wanted to TALK! He wanted to participate in the story. Doing the only thing I felt I could do at the time I said, “Sure,” and there he was babbling away as only a seven year old can do. He was rushing into rooms, interrupting the hero and heroine and now he is well on his way to being part of the climax.

The other character was “an older female servant” who became Ida, and once she was Ida, she, too, needed to be a more active part of the story. She’s turned into a surrogate mom for my heroine (who’s based on Cinderella) and is helping her to grow into her new role and to accept her love for the prince.

I adore both characters and there is no doubt that the book is better for them being in it. It was a wonderful surprise seeing them both come to life on the page and a memorable experience for me as a writer. Now I know – be careful who you name, because the story they change, may be your own!

May you have wonderful surprises in your world this week,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Less Kiss

Being a writer is only one of many identities that color my life. Being a mother to two very active boys (8 and 5) is the one that takes most of my time.

Recently, my younger son showed me that he now knows how to buckle himself into his car seat. He was so proud to be able to do this. I was proud and glad - one less thing for me to do when we are trying to get on the road. Then I realized something. When I buckle him in, I have to reach across his lap and in the process, before I go to my seat, I always give him a kiss. Now that opportunity is gone. I have one less kiss with him during the day.

Each step forward that we celebrate with our children is also a step away from us and comes, for mothers, with a drop of sadness.

I remember when my sons started to sit up and hold their own bottles. I thought - whew, a little more flexibility for me in my days. And then I thought - no more holding them for that moment. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to be out of the helpless bottles-burping-bib stage where you have to be on alert for all their waking moments, but their independence means less dependence on what I have for them. I am thrilled for his accomplishments, but miss some of the things I used to do for and with him.

So I cheer for my son every time I hear the seatbelt click.

And I'm on the lookout for ways to sneak in an extra kiss or two.

May you notice the many moments of joy children bring to your life,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rejection vs. Refusal

Sticking to a dream even when it's hard is what proves your commitment to making the dream a reality. Being an author is my dream come true and no refusal is going to stop me.

I recently submitted my fantasy novel DESTINY'S JEWEL to Ellora's Cave for their birthstone series and on Monday I received a "no, thank you" from my editor, my first from EC. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Worse... in the heart.

I shared my disappointment with my writers group and received great support and understanding. I also received two definitions that have changed the way I look at this part of writing.

According to the dictionary:
REJECTION: 1) the act or process of discarding as useless or
unsatisfactory. 2) to refuse to grant

Now, I know that my manuscript isnt useless. Nor do many of the other descriptions of the word "reject" fit my work. However.. the word refuse is used in the definition.

Look at that definition:
REFUSE: 1) to decline to accept (something offered): to refuse an award.
2) to decline to give; deny (a request, demand, etc.).

That fits what happened much better. My editor declined to accept the manuscript, denied it publication in it's current form with EC. The story was refused. By one editor. Of one story. That is much easier on my heart and muse.

Most writers have heard the story of how many times DUNE was refused (13, I believe), DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank (15 times), JONATHON LIVINGSTON SEAGULL (140!!). Knowing those numbers help a little, but for me, reframing the process in my mind was an instant balm.

I offered my editor a manuscript. She refused. That was her choice. How I feel and go forward from here - that's my choice.

And I feel just fine, thank you.

May your choices support your dreams,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Starting over - Changing course

A writer friend of mine said something to me yesterday that was very helpful - until you submit your work, everything is a draft and therefore changeable.

I am working on a new story while waiting to hear back on another that I submitted a few weeks ago to my edotir. . Two scary places for a writer, and I am doing them simultaneously. I am not good at waiting. And being at the beginning of a project can be a challenge.

I didnt have the right opening line, wasnt sure where I was going. Each day I stared at the screen making changes that weren't helping. As of last night I was ready to junk the whole think. Bye-bye retelling of the Cinderella story. It was getting too hard.

And then my friend made that comment and reminded me that I could, if I still liked my idea, just start over. It was a daunting thought, but I was going to get rid of what I had anyway, so truly, I had nothing to loose. I made a commitment that I would be online at the same time he was (6:30 am this morning! goodness!) and I would start from the top with a goal of writing 2,000 words.

So I was.

And I did.

And now, instead of having over 3,500 words I hated... I have about 2,000 that I like and a place to go next with my hero and heroine.

I realized, the truth is, with a lot of what we do, we can change course and correct if we have the courage to do it. I read once that an airplane is off course more than 50% of the time it is flying, but as long as it lands where it is supposed to, who cares. As long as the story is good when it's finally submitted, it doesnt matter how many times I've had to write and/or change it. I just need to courage to keep going forward and trust my idea, my goal.

I hope that this week you will trust in your goals and find the people you need to support you if you need to make a course correction. It's worth it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do calendars lie?

Because according to mine, my children will be out of school in just under 5 weeks. How is it possible that an entire school year is nearly over?

There's not enough hours in my day to do all I want (including procrastinate, I admit) already and now the kids will be around more as well. I cannot even begin to imagine what I am going to do to keep us all from going insane before the end of August.

Sure, there will be a few weeks of day camp, and some trips to the beach, play grounds, and libraries. But I have to be honest and say that I have a small feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach about the loss of what little independent time I have. I love my time in my writing salon, with the door closed, my coffee hot and no voices other than the ones in my head. I suppose it will seem all the more precious to me come this summer when I will have to take what I can when I can.

What do you do when the children are around more? How do you find the balance you need to keep you sanity (assuming any of us have that to start)?

As I write this a fight over a water gun has broken out. Time to get the referee whistle.